Posted: September 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
I have been in deep thought as of late. So forgive me for not posting since “Enough”. I have to say “Enough” was an eye opener. Not only my eyes but my soul as well. For so long I have been obsessed with the conditions here in Detroit that I took my eyes off the big picture. I wanted to use my voice to uplift and encourage my fellow Detroiters. I wanted to start a different way of thinking. I thought I was on the right track. As of right now, I am not so sure.
Sometimes I lose myself doing research. Facts, figures, and latest findings feed my mind like a steak to a hungry lion. Yet there is one figure that seems to be uninteresting to the educated masses. That is the number of unarmed black men assaulted or killed by Law officials. Better yet, the number of African- Americans stopped by police and searched as opposed to Caucasians stopped and searched. What are the percentages of encounters of Law enforcement based on race in regards to state or city. What could we learn from those stats? what will they teach us? What is the reason behind such an omission of fact? I get that I have asked a lot of questions. The questions I have posed are the very same questions that our community is asking themselves and pretty soon we must ask the nation. If we African Americans are to be prosecuted and convicted on sight, what numbers support such dispensation of our legal system?
I challenge that there are none. The miscarriage of justice currently running rampant throughout our country based purely on racism cannot be justified by stats. Yet there is one constant that continues to grow. The ever increasing business of privatized prisons. Our judicial system that prides itself on equality is unequal in its operation. Any punishment is considered a debt to society however the goal of business is not to go into debt. If a prison cannot go into debt then it must be filled by any means necessary. Who fills it? The race with the least powerful voice in our judicial system. The poor and the black. Period and point blank. I warn you. If we don’t work to turn it around now, inequality will be normal and true justice will be a thing of the past. Holla if you hear me.
- Kelly Greene
Posted: August 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
Being born in the 70’s gave you the distinction of being born just after some of the worst times in American history… The Civil Rights Movement. Now there was still a fair amount of racial tension but the blood shed and riots of previous years took their toll on everyone. The die hard racists agreed to disagree and a desire for peace was nourished by all races. It is now 48yrs later and the growing number murdered African Americans at the hands of whites has relit the fuse. Blood in the streets and justice denied based upon the color of your skin.
Lately, My Facebook feed has been flooded with video and stories of unarmed young black men shot or choked to death. Many of these stories never made it to national news. There have been 5 this past month. Michael Brown- Ferguson, MO, Eric Garner-Staten Island, NY , Ezell Ford – LA, Dante Parker -Victoville,CA , and John Crawford in Ohio. It appears that our justice system has become bored with the whole innocent till proven guilty process when it comes to African American males. The process is now straight to judgment. Or “Legal Lynching” as I call it. It doesn’t happen to any other race. The police have already made their minds up when it comes to African Americans. One video went viral recently of white cop straddling and punching a black woman on the side of the freeway. The message appears quite clear. Racism 2.0 is full effect and threatens to reopen old wounds of the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s.
I was hoping and praying that when LeBron James left the Miami Heat to re-sign with Cleveland Cavaliers, he would cite Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws as a reason he left. I would have been so proud to see him giving a press conference and explaining how the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis affected his decision. I could just see him sitting at the podium and telling the whole room how uncomfortable he was raising his sons in a state where any white man could shoot and kill his boys and get away with it. Jordan Davis’s killer, Michael Dunn only got convicted of attempted murder for each of the 3 boys that were with Davis in the truck Dunn shot up. Dunn won’t serve a day for Davis’s murder. George Zimmerman as we all know was acquitted of Trayvon Martin’s murder even with overwhelming evidence against him. Who could blame LeBron? Could you live in a state under those conditions and you had the power to leave? The Miami Heat as well as the City of Miami are expected to suffer significant financial loses not to mention potential championships. LeBron had a golden opportunity to strike a huge blow for the African American community. Hitting a city or state in the wallet is the only way to make them listen. The best basketball player in the world could have led the way.
I am hoping our more affluent and successful African Americans take the lead. Their money and influence could go a long way to help bring us together as a people to combat these tragic events. We need our Lawyers and politicians to lead us politically and legally. They can voice our displeasure throughout our government. Yet I feel as if I am asking too much. Many of our more successful African Americans have chosen to remain silent and not take a stand. It seems like that they don’t want to risk endorsements or contracts by being too political and taking a stand. Many of our African American lawyers and politicians are too absorbed in themselves or their political party to set anything in motion. So it’s left up to the rest of us. The working poor, The hopeless, disenfranchised, victimized, and angry rest of us. We are therefore left with our only option … Riot. That’s the only time the media seems or wants to listen. Our parents felt the same way in Detroit in 1968. They faced the dogs and water hoses to make things better for our community. It appears that 48ys later, Ferguson, MO has become ground zero for another phase of the Civil Rights Movement. If it has truly come to that, then I must prepare myself. The strange fruit that once hung from trees in the south now grow on the streets and sidewalks of our cities. Planted by seeds of injustice and fertilized by racism. If I must face the dogs and water hoses to end this vicious harvest, then so be it. The next generations of African Americans are at stake. Holla if you hear me!
Posted: July 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
Summertime in Detroit is always a good time. The Riverwalk is alive with people enjoying beautiful days by the Detroit river. Lunchtime at Campus Martius is the new hotspot for everyone working downtown Monday-Friday. A cleaner and ever improving Belle Isle continue to host all comers looking for outdoor fun but this summer, there is a dark cloud hovering overhead.
In March, The Detroit Water and Sewage Department began hiring contractors and sending them out to shutoff water to those who owe $150 or 60 days delinquent in paying their water bill. On top of this, an 8.7% across the board rate increase. The first people targeted of course were the people. Average people in Detroit are trying to make a comeback after the economic downturn. I am all for paying your bills but there are 3 glaring points that make the execution of this very wrong.
1. Detroit is the only city targeted. The Department of Water and Sewage covers 40% of ALL MICHIGAN not just Detroit. I have a hard time believing that Detroit is the only city with massive delinquent water bills. Why not a total sweep of all areas?
2. The numbers don’t lie. Although the unemployment rate went from 24.8% in 2010 to 9.8% in 2013, the median household income in Detroit is 38.5% less than the Michigan average and 45.85 less than the national average. The poverty level in Detroit is 157.4% greater than the Michigan average and 112.1% greater than the national average. (Source: areavibes.com) Many citizens are still playing economic catch up with less than adequate income. The Water Department itself shed 81% of its jobs. Those who remained see wage and benefit cuts.
3. Favoritism. The advantages of the top 1% have been well documented. It appears it applies to the water as well. While the Water Department was going after the little guys, big businesses were riding massive overdue bills without a care. VARGO GOLF owes for 2 properties. One for $478,207.59 ($437,714.11 past due) and the other $109,897.25 ($100.527.58 past due). Even the state of Michigan itself has a nice hefty bill $86,889.73 ($70,426.02 past due).
Recently, as many as 1000 people have marched and rallied downtown with more protest to come, Canada has offered to bring water over for the less fortunate. The United Nations has declared water a human right. What will the out come be? We will have to wait and see. It has become clear that if you are willing to take water from the poor, then you are willing to take anything from anybody. Especially if its for politics. Holla if you hear me!
Posted: June 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
The literary community lost a giant in Maya Angelou. It shook me not because of legacy she left, but the future of the literary arts going forward. Ms. Angelou’s timeless wisdom poured out in her writing as water from a fountain. Little did she know that her writing would nourish us all.
I admit some frustration in my work as of late. My words didn’t seem to fit their arrangement. The voice I had built in my writing now became as a foreign language. A writer without his words is like a singer without a song. Writer’s block is what it’s commonly called. Maya Angelou’s death shattered that block. The reason I love to write became clear. Words spoken can be easily forgotten. However, Words well written last forever. People die but words do not. The proper words could Inspire, Destroy, Teach, or Create. A poem could bring true love or warn of moral doom. This led me to a chilling realization. The Literary arts are in danger.
Social media has the world communicating like never before. Facebook and Twitter has been leading the way and that scares me. A thought has a 140 character limit so it is hacked to death in illegible, slang-ridden shorthand. Facebook is littered with rants absent of punctuation and heavy laden in misspelling. The thoughts they are trying to convey become a mass of twisted prepositional phrases void of direction. This is now how we communicate and how can we communicate like this? Are we to write books and poetry like this as well?
Maya Angelou’s shoes are too big for one person to fill. We all have to. Everyone inspired by her writing must honor her memory by holding true to our craft. We have to be the ones that use our words to inspire, create, uplift, warn, and encourage. As writers, we have to show the world the proper way to communicate. Our words have to pass our wisdom, knowledge, and culture through the ages with clarity and definition. Brother and Sister Writers, There will not be another Maya Angelou. She left a legacy to inspire us for we still must Rise! Holla if you hear me!
P.S. New Twitter handle!! @KellyGLive72
Posted: March 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: Poem, Trayvon Martin
AT 17 I HAD BIG DREAMS,
I HAD A GIRLFRIEND; I MADE THE THE FOOTBALL TEAM,
I HAD A FAMILY THAT LOVED ME.
I HAD ONLY A PACK OF SKITTLES AND AN ICED TEA.
I DIDN’T KNOW WHY HE WAS CHASING ME.
I DON’T KNOW WHY HE IGNORED MY PLEAS.
THERE HE SHOT ME AND THERE I LAY.
THE POLICE CAME OUT SAID EVERYTHING IS OKAY.
WHY DO I HAVE TO DIE?
WHY DOES HE GO FREE?
I AM TRAYVON MARTIN…WHERE IS THE JUSTICE FOR ME?
Greetings people!!! I hope everyone is still praying for our city. Judging by the news, we need it now more than ever. I know many of you are angry and discouraged by the actions of a few, but good people still make up the majority of our city. Now, onto the business at hand!
In a prior blog I envisioned 2012 as a big year for Michigan artists. It appears that I was right. Kai Mann released “30 Day Notice” and Andrea Daniel released “Like Gwendolyn” earlier this year. Both books received great reviews. Also, the anticipated Indie film “Sext Messaging” began filming here in Detroit; at the end of February. However, March is bringing in the big guns!
Motown Writer’s Network founder Sylvia Hubbard is releasing her latest book, “Hope Is Love”. This Saturday, March 10th, you can get your hands on a copy and meet with Sylvia at Tom’s Oyster Bar on Jefferson in Downtown Detroit. Sylvia has published 28 books prior to this one and promises to release at least one more before the year is over. This is pretty extra-ordinary for a single mother of three!
March also has another female powerhouse throwing around her literary weight. Fresh off tour performing in the Netherlands with the Dutch group Wunderbraun, poet and singer Rosemarie Wilson is ready to release her second book entitled “Out of Darkness into Light”; and I had the pleasure of reviewing this book ahead of time. If you want to know what I thought of it, you can read my review on the back cover of the book! Also, on March 16th at Manila Bay Café, Rosemarie Wilson will be hosting her Birthday/Book Signing and Release Party. I will definitely be in the building!!
This year is starting off great for our authors and artists, but I have one question, where are our male authors? C’mon fellas, let’s step it up… Including me!!!! I am currently working on my debut piece, but in the meantime, let’s support our entire family of Detroit artists. Only by supporting each other can we become great as a whole! Holla if you hear me!!
I come to you on behalf of thousands who are in need. For all those who have lost much and gained little. For all those who have worked hard but rewarded with less. For every man, woman, and child in Detroit abused or distressed.
I pray for their hearts: May they be strengthened. That they remain encouraged and strong in weathering our social and financial storm. So they may find comfort in one another.
I pray for their minds: May they be open to change. Stimulate their thirst for knowledge and wisdom.
I pray for their homes: May they be allowed to keep them. They need a safe place to rest their weary bodies and minds. A place to shield and nurture their children. Keep the greed of banks at bay. Instruct the banks in the ways of forgiveness and mercy.
Lord I pray for the Police and Fire Departments that you may bless their work. Let them know that they are making a difference in spite of the pay cuts and sacrifices they had to make.
I pray for the prosperity of my city. We need back the jobs that were taken by greed and selfishness. We need our school system returned to health so our children can be inspired by new books and teachers. May old tattered books be a thing of the past. Pass your blessings to teachers willing to teach and instruct our children. I pray that your hand spreads throughout our streets and wipe away the stench of murder and grief. That tears of sorrow be replaced by smiles of hope. I pray that differences be put aside and instead of hands grabbing weapons; hands working together for the good of us all! In all these things I pray, AMEN!
Pray if you hear me!
– K. Greene
I went to Lutheran High West in Detroit, MI. In 4 yrs, I made a lot of friends. Ayana was one of those friends. She was such a good friend; we kept in touch whenever possible. Facebook helped a lot! Our conversations are a melting pot of where we been, our kids, the people who love us, and the ones that missed out. The usual catching up between old classmates. One conversation I have always avoided was the subject of her ailment. I don’t like to bring up troubling issues. I always try to keep my friend’s mind off unpleasant things. That changed one day. She sent me a link to a movie that totally blew my mind! I had to call her and ask “What the HELL?!”. It was her way of letting me know she was ready to talk about it. Not only that. She wants everybody to know.
The movie was about a young lady who came down with an unexpected disease. No warnings, no sneezing, coughing, or fever. Just the slow deterioration of muscle movement to the point where her family was sure she would not survive. Hope was all but lost until a diagnosis turned everything around. Tests revealed that her body produced high levels of anti-bodies that attack one’s muscle neurons. Also tests were done to check “specific” muscle weakness through repetitive nerve stimulation. She had a severe case of Myastenia Gravis. Myastenia Gravis is not contagious, nor is it hereditary but it is extremely random! It mostly affects women under 40 yrs old and men over 60 yrs old. However, it can occur at any age and race is a non-factor. Muscle weakness is common in 90% of all illnesses and weak eyes or “Cock Eye” is not a sure-fire way to tell if some one has Myastenia Gravis. This is one deceptive disease! Most people go 2 yrs before they are diagnosed, eluding patient and doctor alike!
It all started for Ayana in 1997 when all of a sudden, she could not look down. An M.R.I. turned up nothing and her symptoms went away. Relieved, Ayana went about her normal life appearing none the worse for wear. One morning in 2000 changed all of that. She awoke with one eye closed and the other crossed! An M.R.I. wasn’t going to satisfy her this time and this was ten times more terrifying! It seems that her ordeal in ’97 was only a small piece of a bigger picture. Her condition kept doctors guessing. She went to 3 different doctors before she was finally diagnosed with Myastenia Gravis in 2001. We call it MG. The Doctor’s visits are often and unsettling. I mean, how would you feel if doctors call interns into the room like you were a medical oddity? MG is a neuromuscular disorder which causes chronic weakness. The name itself comes from a Greek translation meaning “Grave Weakness”. The movie she sent me was one of the more extreme cases. Ayana’s symptoms are considered normal. Muscle fasciculations or “Twitches” are common. Also she is often fatigued and subject to blackouts. Ayana’s eyes won’t move depending on the severity of her flare-up. Heat has become her enemy. Having MG makes it difficult to enjoy a warm summer day. A heat wave is unbearable for you and I but for her, it is crippling. MG does not stop one from living a full life or holding down a job. Ayana’s job allows her to work from home whenever symptoms become overwhelming. These days understanding bosses are rare and Ayana’s have been nothing short of supportive. Every bit helps.
Ayana shared her story with me to help her friends. Friends she would probably never see face to face but share her disease. She feels that raising awareness is the only way to ensure that more research is done. The quality of life for those with this disease is depending on it. Hopefully, one day something can be done to make diagnosis faster. Or maybe a cure! In the meantime, hopefully we are all a little wiser after reading this blog. Myastenia Gravis is not a widely known disease but it should be. Holla if you hear me!
For More Info:
Myastenia Gravis Fact Sheet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/myasthenia_gravis/detail_myasthenia_gravis.htm#179993153
The Movie “Mute Mannequin”: http://youtu.be/4EX2u8–YVg (Copy and Paste the link into your browser)
Facebook Support Group:http://www.facebook.com/groups/6126913853?ap=1
Posted: August 9, 2014 in Uncategorized
I remember as a boy first hearing Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. I was moved by the strength of those words. Dr. King had a huge dream and he knew he may not be alive to see it but fought for it as if it was just around the corner. Racial equality was his dream then and during that speech, everyone shared his dream. As a young boy, I made sure I kept his dream in my thoughts. Now as a grown man, I see another meaning to his speech.
Some people dream and dismiss it as entertainment for a sleeping mind. I see it differently. A dream can be almost prophetic. Matter of fact, a dream can be 100% Prophetic if that is what you want and the size of the dream means nothing. Dream big, huge. Then do the things that would get you towards that dream. I believe that a dream is a future just waiting for a little work. That’s what I get out of Dr. Kings speech now. Overcoming Jim Crow and powering the Civil Rights Movement seemed like a far fetched dream. The work Dr. King put in made that dream close to reality. The only thing needed is for us to put in more work.
I also have a dream. That dream is called Detroit. I dream of my hometown becoming a thriving downtown tourist spot. A new shopping mall downtown along with nice town houses in walking distance of arts and entertainment. I dream about two more light rails in Detroit. There should be one that runs the length of Grand River for the west side and another running the length of Gratiot on the east side. The light rails will connect neighborhood people with good paying jobs. I also dream about my fellow artists here in Detroit. Many go unsung for the simple fact that we are not in L.A. or New York. I dream that all that changes and we become the new Motown Sound. Are you willing to put in the work in? Are you dreaming big enough with me? Holla if you hear me!
Posted: June 24, 2014 in Reflections
Recently, I have been thinking about the quest to make money. I know what you are about say, “Why now? You should always think about making money.” The truth is that I don’t. It enters into my mind maybe once every two weeks or so. I know your next question summed up in one word…Why? Well I will tell you.
For the record, yes I would like to be rich. Famous would be nice too but not necessary. However, when and if that happens I want to be mentally ready. I know a lot of people who want to be rich but I almost fear what they would turn out to be. Money doesn’t solve your problems. It enhances them. I know you would get yourself out of debt, buy homes for your family, and want for nothing. Sounds cool doesn’t it? What isn’t cool is that you are soon broke. Why? You started in debt which means that you were probably bad at budgeting from the start. Your rags to riches and back to rags story confirms it.
I don’t watch reality shows but you don’t have to in order to find out the latest foolishness. It winds up on the news or TMZ and you say “I would never do that”. If you have unresolved personal issues, you could. Drugs, Sex, Anger, Jealousy, and Narcissism all become magnified by your new social status. Any one of these can ruin your life in an instant. Greed makes it 10x’s worse. Some would fight to stay rich. Even commit murder.
Most of my friends and family are talented, very talented. Any of them can easily be thrust into superstardom overnight. Here in Detroit, we are rich with talent. The harsh economic climate had given our local artist time and incentive to perfect their passions. I hope however, that they take the time to read this. I want them to take the time to perfect their souls as well as their craft. Personal wealth comes from within. Deal with your faults and seek peace with yourself. So when fortune comes your way, YOU are in control and not fame. Holla if you hear me!
- K. Greene
Posted: January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized
The old saying, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” has rang true in multiple situations. Here is no different. In fact, this book gives you way more than expected. “Abandoned Property” is the follow up to author Kai Mann’s debut novel “30 Day Notice”. In “Abandoned Property”, we go deeper into the world of Kori Maitlan. We also learn more about her life and those in her inner circle: Jerard, Darius, Jay, Layla, Karina, and Coco.
In true Quentin Tarantino fashion, the beginning chapters bounce from the origins of one character to the next. It can be a little distracting but bear with it. As you make your way through the story, the characters grow up before your very eyes. Soon they become intertwined in life, love, and friendship. Each individual shares a common pain. The pain of Abandonment. In each story, somewhere in the character’s life, abandonment played a key role. We see the impact on all sides and situations. Even as Kori struggles to find herself in her new life, she is bombarded by thoughts of her children in another state with her ex-husband. She maintains contact with them yet she fears they may feel abandoned by her. Kai Mann draws us into that fear through the lives of the other characters. You see the mental scars of Kori’s friends and you really feel for all of them. You can’t help it because we have all been in similar situations.
And that is the beauty of this book. You are in this story. Each character represents you or someone you know. You’ve heard about someone in a situation similar to the ones in this book. I guarantee that you probably gave your best to that person and didn’t think anymore about it. “Abandoned Property” draws you in and doesn’t let you go that easy. You are fully immersed in their world. When you finish this book, the world you live in may not look the same. The stories and lessons in this novel will defiantly help you see people in a different light. The lines between race, creed, and color, vanish in a wave of empathy and enlightenment. If you are against the LGBT lifestyle, most people would say that this is not the book for you. Those people would be wrong. This is the book for you. You might change your mind and open your eyes for the better. This a great read! Holla at this book!